Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for 2019 Summer season

Every year horsemen point for the Del Mar meeting and hold back horses just to try and make a score at the seaside oval.
This 80th season should be no different, but there could be a lot different.
With the Santa Anita debacle, the state has lost plenty of its horse inventory.
You are going to see fewer races at Del Mar and smaller fields, which in turn means lower payoffs and likely more favorites winning races. Del Mar is likely to back load its cards in order to have more horses in the Pick Six races, which are the last six events of each day. It also means shorter fields for the first Pick Five, which Del Mar runs on the first five events of the day, but probably larger payoffs in the late Pick Five, which Del Mar added last year.
Long shots will come, just maybe not as frequently as in the past.
Here are some jockeys and trainers to watch during the summer meet with stats provided by Jim Mazur’s The Del Mar Handicapper 2019 (

The colony hasn’t changed too much except for the loss of Tyler Baze, who left Southern California during the spring for points east, most notably Kentucky. Baze will ride today on opening day but that might be his only appearance unless he has a stakes engagement or two.
Flavien Prat continues to lead the Southern California colony, especially in turf races. The France native just has a knack for the green stuff, but make no mistake he can ride on the dirt, too. When Prat teams up with trainers Richard Baltas, Simon Callaghan, Phil D’Amato and Peter Miller watch out. Prat and Miller won 47 percent of their races at the 2018 meet (7 for 15).
Drayden Van Dyke has grown up on the circuit since his apprentice days and is tough to deal with day in and day out. Van Dyke rides for all the top outfits, including Bob Baffert, John Sadler and Michael McCarthy.
Veteran Rafael Bejarano seems to have regained his magic from years past and he can be deadly when trying to get a horse home in the stretch. Joe Talamo is a steady rider who has made inroads into the Baffert barn.
Victor Espinoza is back after getting hurt at last year’s meet and Aaron Gryder has returned to the circuit full-time. Hall of Famer Mike Smith will ride a lot of the stakes races so if shows up on other horses take note.
Watch out for Amir Cedillo, who has moved his tack from Northern California and will get plenty of mounts from trainers on that circuit. Cedillo’s mounts have won $2.3 million this year and $19.4 million in his career.
On the apprentice front, Jose Velez just won the nine-day Los Alamitos meet and J.C. Diaz has booted home some good-priced horses while carrying the weight allowance so many trainers like.

When talking Del Mar and training, the first name out of most people’s mouth is Baffert. The silver-fox loves to show off his bright, shiny new 2-year-olds at the seaside oval. The problem is Baffert’s horses almost always go favored and for good reason because they are always well-meant first time out. However, if you bet on every Baffert horse over the last three years you would be down $94 and the average price of his winners is just $6. Ouch. A good angle is to bet the “other” Baffert when he enters two horses in the same race.
Other top trainers but losing propositions the last three years are D’Amato (minus $178), Doug O’Neill (minus minus $311) and Keith Desormeaux (minus $122). It should be noted that banned trainer Jerry Hollendorfer showed a loss of $253 the last three years despite 27 winners and his horses will run with his assistant Dan Ward this season.
North County resident Miller has been the Del Mar king the last three summers with 66 winners and a profit of $73, but it should be noted that he has moved approximately 33 percent of his stock out of state due to new regulations so it will be interesting to see what happens. Miller only has horses entered in two races over the first two days of the meet. Miller does well in all categories.
Shockingly, the Sadler barn has shown a $206 profit the last three years and average price of $17 with his winners. Sadler always has top stock, especially for Hronis Racing, and when his turf sprinters win they average $38.
Jeff Bonde (plus $136) and Jim Cassidy (plus $106) have shown a profit over the last three years. You have to watch out for Bonde with California-bred horses and Cassidy also seems to have a way with turf sprinters.
An under-the-radar trainer to watch out for is Andrew Lerner, who was 3 for 9 last summer. Lerner is very good with horses making their first start of the meet and first start off of a 30-day layoff. He has increased his stock this year and can also play the claiming game.

Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar opinions for Thursday, July 19

Preview: Trainers Doug O’Neill and Jerry Hollendorfer, who were mediocre in 2017, dominated on opening day, winning the first seven races between them. Give their horses an extra look, especially O’Neill, who gets hot and then cools off.

Trainers to watch
PHIL D’AMATO: Tied for the Del Mar training title last summer with 18 wins and his stable has only gotten stronger since then. He is a monster on the turf with 12 wins and 11 seconds from 66 starters. This summer look for improved numbers on the dirt and with younger horses.

RICHARD BALTAS: He tied D’Amato for the crown a year ago. Surprisingly, he beat D’Amato on the grass, leading all trainer with 13 winners on the green. One area of weakness is first-time starters so stay away from them.

PETER MILLER: Last summer wasn’t the best for the Carlsbad resident who annually starts a ton of horses at the seaside oval. He had more than twice has many seconds and thirds (24 and 16) as wins (15). No doubt he wants to turn those numbers around. Don’t be afraid of horses showing San Luis Rey Downs works because he has a portion of his stable there. Miller was second in dirt wins and victories by 2-year-olds. He does a lot of damage with claimers and maiden claimers, but you often don’t get a square price.

MARK GLATT: He had a really good summer under the radar last year, finishing tied for third in the standings with Miller (15 wins) from far less starters (68). He also is sneaky on the grass with eight wins from 37 starts. Betting on all of Glatt’s starters would have produced a flat-bet profit, according to Jim Mazur’s The Del Mar Handicapper 2018.

DOUG O’NEILL: It will be a race to see who starts more horses this meet: Miller or O’Neill. The O’Neill barn gets a lot of horses from J. Paul Reddam and a lot sired by Square Eddie so watch for that combination. O’Neill was tied for third in dirt wins (nine) and grass can be a weakness. However, look at turf sprints because in 2016 O’Neill did well in that category.

OTHERS: Bob Baffert has his second Triple Crown winner in four years but like American Pharoah, Justify won’t run at Del Mar. Baffert led all trainers with 12 dirt wins, with half of them coming from 2-year-olds. He is also usually strong in the sprint and handicap divisions. The best betting option is “the other Baffert.” When he has two horses in the same race, bet the one with the higher odds plus bet an exacta box of his two horses. … Jerry Hollendorfer had just five winners a year ago but he got hot during Santa Anita and might be back to his old self. Watch out for his 2-year-olds, especially the fillies, one of which (Brill) is running on opening day. … Michael McCarthy, the former Todd Pletcher assistant, is starting to get better stock after finishing last summer for third in dirt wins (nine). According to Mazur’s book, McCarthy produced a huge $73 flat-bet profit. … Simon Callaghan is another younger trainer to watch after he had seven 2-year-old winners in 2017. … Steve Miyadi is also good with 2-year-olds (four wins) and first-time starters (three of 11). … Jim Cassidy, the life-long New York Yankees fan, is 7-for-13 in turf sprints the last three years with a profit of $137, according Mazur’s book. … Tom Proctor, who trains mainly for Glen Hill Farm, is a whiz on the turf and he went 6-for-15 at 2017 meet for a flat-bet profit, but don’t expect any large prices because his horses get bet.

FIRST RACE: 1. Watch Me Burn, 2. Jellybeankristine, 3. No Thanks Erik. LONG SHOT: Lakerzwin.

SECOND RACE: 1. Gutsy Effort, 2. Welldidyougetit, 3. Latitude. LONG SHOT: June Two Four.

THIRD RACE: 1. PASTIME (best bet), 2. G Q Covergirl, 3. Painting Corners. LONG SHOT: Invested Prospect.
Let me just say this up front there is no way we are getting the 12-1 morning line on No. 8 Pastime in today’s third race. Trainer Victoria Oliver brings a small string to Del Mar almost every year from Kentucky and always seem to win at a good price, but the word is already out on social media. That being said Oliver is 4-for-11 at Del Mar with horses off a 31- to 60-day layoff like this filly and the average winning price is $20, according to Jim Mazur’s The Del Mar Handicapper 2018.

FOURTH RACE: 1. Robin’s Love, 2. Cylinders, 3. Lil Bit Dangerous. LONG SHOT: Go Smiley Go.

FIFTH RACE: 1. Memorable Election, 2. Rockaway, 3. Ivy Mike. LONG SHOT: Master Ruler.

SIXTH RACE: 1. Magic Musketier, 2. Andesh, 3. Inscom. LONG SHOT: Soltero.

SEVENTH RACE: 1. Secret Spice, 2. Moonshine Memories, 3. Show It N Moe It. LONG SHOT: Treasuring.

EIGHTH RACE: 1. Majorie E, 2. Venue, 3. Oh Pretty Woman. LONG SHOT: Unusual Gold.


Top choice winners: 2 (Shivermetimbers $4.60, sixth race; Brill $3.40, seventh)

Second choice winners: 1 (Super Duper Cooper $6.40, ninth)

Third choice winners: 3 (Eighty Three $10.60, third; Dichotomy $5.40, fourth; Ann Arbor Eddie $20, fifth)

Long shot winners: 1 (Jimmy Chila $7, second)

Good luck.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter